Prison – a place to go to land a modeling contract? Not likely for most people, but when Jeremy Meeks was arrested in 2014 for being a felon in possession of a firearm, he hit an unlikely jackpot. The sheriff’s department in California where he was apprehended posted his mugshot on Facebook to the delight of tens of thousands of people who were captivated enough by his chiseled features and ice blue eyes to “like” and share his photo time and again.
The mugshot which curiously (and probably luckily for Meeks) featured beauty-esque clamshell lighting went viral (see set-up here), and the title “prison bae” was bestowed, and despite his newfound fans’ best efforts via hashtags, he served two years for his crime. His time in the spotlight garnered the attention of the White Cross Management talent management company, among others, and he was offered a contact though he still had a year left to serve on his two year sentence.
Not quite a year after his 2016 release Meeks reached a new milestone when he was granted the prestigious task of walking the runway at New York Fashion Week in German designer Philipp Plein’s show which featured eclectic and non-traditional talent. Fetty Wap, New England Patriots player Danny Amendola, and Young Thug, are a few names also featured by Plein.
From gang life and prison time to a modeling career and NYFW recognition, Jeremy Meek’s epic turn-around was spurred by a single photograph and the momentum generated by viral social media content. Incidents like this really bring to light the power of photography. If a simple mugshot can change a life in the right serendipitous circumstances, just think what one could do with their photography skills and a little intention. What good can you do with your talent? Will you give it a try?